Several years ago Chris Seay invited me to participate in aproject called “The Voice.” It was going to involve a new translation of theBible, gathering artists, poets, scholars, and pastors into a partnership. Iwound up writing a couple of essays for the volume on the book of Acts (The Dust Off Their Feet
) in 2006. Lastyear the NT was released in full by Thomas Nelson Publishers, with littlefanfare. This spring the entire Bible has appeared in print
. USAToday had an article
about the release this week that opened with theprovocative words, “The name Jesus Christ doesn't appear inThe Voice
, a new translation of the Bible.” CNN followed up with a posted articleentitled “New Bible Translation Avoids 'Christ'.” I’d like to respond to this kind ofjournalism. It is either intentionally misleading in order to gather readersand listeners or it is ignorantly misleading which is simply sloppy. I suspectit is the former.
First, both CNN and USA Today
havemisrepresented the translation. The translation does not remove
“Christ.” The English word “Christ” is a transliteration of the Greek word “christos,
” which itself is a translationof the Hebrew word “messiah
.” Bothwords mean the same, “the anointed one.” It has been the practice in Bibletranslation to transliterate (bringing the Greek word directly into English) christos
rather than translate it (putting into English the meaning of the Greek word), creating the English word “Christ.” Christ is a title
of Jesus. He is Jesus (the)Christ, or Jesus (the) Messiah. Christ is not his surname. He was not the child ofJoseph and Mary Christ. The translators of The Voice
chose to translate thetitle as “the Anointed” or “God’s Anointed,” or “the Anointed One,” depending uponthe context of the narratives or the epistles. This choice, while departing from other English Bible translations, is nevertheless both legitimate and honoring to meaning of the original language. They were attempting to restoreit as a title
rather than treating it as a name
. To say they have taken Christ out of the Bible is misrepresentation.
Second, Jesus is clearly at the enterof the entire project. He is the center of Christian Scriptures and remains soin this translation. I am currently reading through The Voice
for my dailyBible reading and worship. I’m finding it to be rich, and it is clear thatJesus, God’s Son, is at the heart of the story.
Because of this kind of publicity, hardworking, prayerful, deeply spiritual scholars and their work is inappropriatelymaligned. All kinds of inaccurate material begins to circulate on the Internet.
I’d like to raise my voice andencourage God’s people to act like God’s people. Let Scripture speak asauthoritative rather than the headlines or lead sentences of secularjournalists.
No translation is perfect. We will each find details about The Voice
that we don’t like. Translation, all translation, is in part interpretation. We will find far more that is helpful. Leveling suchaccusations against godly men and women who have devoted a significant portionof their lives, gifts, and calling to making God’s word clearer to a newgeneration readers is just wrong.
Read it for yourself. Read theIntroductory materials. Go to the website (http://www.hearthevoice.com
)and become familiar with the project. Have some integrity about what youbelieve and what you pass on.